Warning Long post ahead! I apologize in advanced for the long post, I can ramble forever about special effects makeup. I got into special effects makeup around the same time that I discovered beauty makeup. In fact I think i might’ve began my interest a little earlier thanks to the show Face Off. I have always loved watching these SFX makeup artists create things and I didn’t really think about doing it myself until I found PinkStylist on Youtube. I came across his channel while looking up other beauty makeup tutorials. You know how one thing leads to another and you go in a downward spiral to Youtube hell. Well anyway please check him out, he’s an absolutely sweetie from the UK and does amazing and fairly simple techniques to create great looks. Also a lot of people like MadeYewLook by Lex. She’s absolutely talented as well, amazingly show I just don’t watch her because i don’t actually like her voice and some of the mannerisms she does. That seems like a dumb reason I know but this is also the same reason I don’t like Markiplier for Let’s Plays. A lot of people enjoy his voice and i really hate it! Obviously these people can’t control their voices so this is just a personal preference. Anyway my opinions shouldn’t stop you from checking these people out!
Now that that ramble is over, here’s the actual makeup ramble. Just like with regular beauty makeup I look for SFX makeup on a budget as well. This can get extremely expensive online especially with shipping fees. The good thing is you can get most products in trial sizes which cut down the costs tremendously. But I tried get sample sizes of Snazzroo from their website and my total was around $10 and because they’re based in Canada or the UK (one of those two) the shipping was $12. Nuh-uh. Also Snazaroo isn’t exactly budget friendly. In fact barely any sfx brands are budget friendly. On top of that the only way to get things really quick and not pay for shipping is of course around Halloween. Which sucks since it only comes around once a year! We should really have a Summerween like in Gravity Falls.
So around Halloween there are the pop up seasonal Halloween Stores as well as Wal-Mart who starts carrying Halloween accessories and costumes. Party City also carries Halloween things year round but their full stock starts towards the end of the summer until November. These are the places I usually go. Wal-Mart and Party City have lower quality products but these are great for beginners of course! You wouldn’t want to buy expensive items to try new things on and then find out that you suck at it (also you don’t suck, you just need practice!)
So this kit has been built up throughout a year so it does take time as with any other form of makeup collection. Here’s what I have so far. This kit is stored in a normal plastic toolbox found in the hardware section for $6-8 bucks! Even the container is on a budget:P It comes with a self insert which i keep my smaller items in.
I found that I have several brands of Spirit Gum. Spirit Gum is the basic of all adhesives. It comes in a bottle with a brush applicator that can help you apply it on the skin, latex, or any other surface. Usually this is used for applying prosthetic and fake hair and some accessories such as a rhinestone that you need to keep in place on the forehead or something like that. When I buy prosthetic kits i find that they usually come with a small bottle of Spirit Gum already which is why I have so many.
In order it goes Bloody Mary’s Spirit Gum ($4), Graftobian Spirit Gum (1oz Bottle around $3) and Remover (1 oz bottle around $4), Cinema Secrets Spirit Gum (0.125 Bottle $3) and Rubie’s Spirit Gum (0.125 oz around $4, and i got this at party city). Also just know that you don’t always need spirit gum remover to remove spirit gum. You can use alcohol or baby oil. I’ve used my Graftobian SG the most but they all do the same thing. You might have to judge on how long the stick lasts to determine the best one. You also might need to reapply sometimes. I won’t go into review details since this is just a “look at what I got” post haha.
Next are the paints that I use. I use cream and water color paints. I got most of my cream colors from Party City. They have stacks of 4 colors in different themes for $10. I got the Flesh Tone, The Undead, And I believe the last one is Zombie??? I couldn’t find it on the website site so I’m unsure. Another stack I got was the Vampire stack from walmart. This one was probably a bit cheaper than the Party City one so I was unsure. The Cinema Secrets cream makeup I got were parts of prosthetic kits as well But each 1/8 oz (which i believe is the same as 0.125 oz) run for $3.50 on the Cinema Secrets website. They also have stacks of color avaliable for $10 as well, which might be the better/cheaper option. My Graftobian makeup wheel was part of a $20 Bald Cap appliance kit. This is also a flesh color kit with a blue in the center (which can be used to create veins as well as add depth.) The Bloody Mary face paint is really nice. The application is really smooth and has great pigmentation. This was around $4 at a SFX convention that I went to. I swear these were around $4 but on the website they’re about double the price. The other cream makeups I use are the ones found at Walmart, Dollar Tree and Party City for around $1. They suck, go on too thick and aren’t that great for application but if you need them for a Halloween night they’re great or if you’re a beginner. If you’re more advanced you know to keep these out of your kit. The Wolfe and Snazaroo paints are water based, meaning they act like water color paints. Add water (however much you want) and then apply. The water colors are great for doing thin washes and for things like bruises. I use my Wolfe palette for bruises all the time!. The Wolfe palette was around $13 at the convention price. I would recommend these, I really enjoy them.
Now it’s time for some Blood-MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH! Blood is pretty essential if you’re doing some gory makeup. There are different types of blood as well. There’s the generic cheap vampire blood, i got these tubes for $1. This is goopy messy, bright red and unrealistic but great for some things. It’s also runny so it’s great for drippy effects and stippling. Blood paste is my favorite. I think I got this jar for around $5 and it’s awesome. It’s a thick substance, that’s darker and a little bit more realistic. It looks like clotting and clumps of blood. It also stays in place where ever you put it. Blood gel, I actually haven’t used yet but it’s inbetween the cheap blood and blood paste. It’s syrupy consistency can drip/run but since it’s thicker it wont run AS much as the cheap blood. People used one type of blood per look or mix all different kinds depending on what they want to achieve.
Next I have some miscellanous sfx things. Most of the stuff I got is from Mehron and is a bit expensive. Again I got the smaller sizes so they cost a bit less and was able to pick these up at one of the bigger Halloween stores. Rigid Collodion is i think an intermediate tool. It applies similar to Spirit Gum but it puckers the skin to create a kind of indentation/scar effects. I use this to create bite marks. Toothfx Toothenamel colors the teeth. I have the color Nicotine which give the teeth a gross yellow tint. Sweat and Tears is exactly that. It’s a liquid that simulates sweat and tears. Nose and Scar Wax is a moldable putty that needs to be away from heat. I can get really messy if held in the hands for too long. It works better if you use a tool to build up and create the effect you want, such as a metal spatula. I have charred ash which is a colored powder you can add onto makeup. I saw this used on a volunteer that Boobie Weiner (the woman who created the Bloody Mary makeup line) made into a zombie clown. It helped add onto a charred flesh look but can use to simulate dirtiness and things like that. 3-D gel that I have in a blood and flesh color. You warm this up in a bit of warm water and then apply it to the skin, making sure not to burn yourself. It’s a gelatin like substance and is cheaper than silicone based mixing compounds. They create similar effects. SynWax is another modeling wax similar to nose and scar wax but a bit stiffer.
Latex!Latex!Latex! The most basic of sfx tools. Its super versatile and easy to use. And can create a multitude of effects. I got that big honking bottle of latex for $8 at Walmart. Bigger jugs of latex can be more expensive and the smaller bottles are usually around $4-5 bottles. Latex can be a bit pricey but it’s actually…ok it’s not a really a requirement but its place i recommend people starting at. And it’s used even in advanced looks so it’s well worth the investment.
Sponges/Brushes. Cosmetic wedges. Get them. Get them in bulk. They’re disposable and perfect for latex application. You can even use these for applying face paints. Powder puffs and a kabuki brush are good for patting/buffing in setting powders. Stipple sponges create textures, especially for blood. Get paintbrushes, soft bristled ones, that can help you add details and such. Get a set of makeup brushes specifically for sfx makeup. Keep these separate from your regular brushes because some sfx makeup can ruin brushes (like latex, just apply with a sponge. It save time and hassle) Use kitchen sponges (brand new ones of course) to cut up and create textures as well.
Prosthetics. Ok these aren’t necessary as you can make your own prosthetics.Though Makeing them from scratch can be time consuming and a little difficult if you don’t always have the right tools and materials. So what I do is either create simple/smaller prosthetics from latex or buy them. You can apply these with spirit gum and latex and then add your own details. It’s pretty much like a color book page, a base that you can add too.
Lastly is setting powder. Now sfx makeup brands do make their own setting powders but you can easily use any translucent setting powder that you have around. I have a large pot of elfs translucent setting powder that I use for my face as well as sfx makeup (different brushes to avoid contamination of course) This is one of the easier things to get your hands on so I won’t spend too much time talking about it.
Now my kit is like a beginner/intermediate kit, which is the same place I am with beauty makeup. Practice makes perfect and as much I sit and watch makeup tutorials on Youtube, I do the same with sfx tutorials as well. My subscriptions are more geared towards beauty makeup but i have a few great sfx youtubers that i watch as well. I’ll be showing you guys some of my sfx makeup that i’ve done on some friends so you can get a sense of the other side of makeup!
Here are some shopping links: (as i mentioned before not all sfx makeup is budget friendly. It’s a rather expensive hobby (as id beauty makeup) but you can find deals around Halloween time/buy smaller bottles and such or products you want to try. Think “samples” like in beauty) Also I’m putting the main website links below but you can find things on other websites with a bit of digging.
Mehron (shopping links/product links are on the side bar)
Ben Nye (yeah, where that stupid ass banana powder comes from!! They make sfx makeup as well. Also I used a third party website for this link as I couldn’t exactly manuever through the Ben Nye website and find shopping links)
These are just the main places, as I’ve mentioned before. I usually get most of my stuff during Halloween time and I got things during the SFX convention I went to this past summer. Shop around is the advice I can offer and have fun!